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This is a simple rustic salad: if you use good-quality ingredients, you can’t go wrong. Choose figs which are plump, heavy and almost splitting at the base. Although this is normally a sign that fruit has deteriorated, in the case of figs it is the best indicator that they are ripe, jammy and full of juice. The beans should be quickly blanched and refreshed so they are still vibrant green and crunchy. The sweet flavour of figs marries effortlessly with the sharp, assertive bite of blue cheese – I have used the French Fourme d’Ambert, but gorgonzola or Roquefort would also be good. The dressing is made with aged balsamic vinegar, which has a round and slightly sweet flavour that contrasts well with the acidity of the blue cheese.
Place the beans in a saucepan of boiling water and cook for 2–3 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold running water. Whisk together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar to make a dressing. Place the beans and rocket in a bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the dressing. Place the dressed beans and rocket on a platter. Fold the prosciutto slices and arrange over the beans and rocket, together with the figs and blue cheese. Drizzle the salad with a little more dressing and season to taste.
Video uploaded: Jun 20, 2013
Video uploaded: Jun 11, 2013
Video uploaded: May 31, 2013
Steamed mussels would have to be the simplest one-pot dish around. These days, you can even buy farmed black mussels that have already been debearded to make cooking them even easier. My tip is not to throw out any mussels that have not opened. Despite what many people think unopened mussels are not off, they just need a little extra cooking time. When all of the mussels are ready, place the saucepan in the middle of the table with some bowls, crusty bread and a bowl of home-made mayonnaise.
Video uploaded: May 16, 2013
Sirloin is a very versatile cut of meat and has more flavour than fillet. Chimichurri sauce is a vibrant green Argentinean sauce made with fresh herbs. It makes a great accompaniment for the sirloin, and also works well with lamb or chicken. I use garlic confit in this recipe for its soft, mellow flavour. Bake the cloves in their skins in an ovenproof dish of extra virgin olive oil for approximately 20 minutes at 150ºC until they are soft.